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Author Topic: Amabella Catston/Erpheronian and Aellenrhim/“Stormcloak” Guild Merchant  (Read 3289 times)
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Amabella Catston
Tool and Trinket Trader
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Gender: Female
Posts: 35


Half-Elf, Aellenrhim / Erpheronian


« on: April 23, 2013, 05:01:18 PM »

Name: Amabella Catston

Gender: Female

Age: 29 (Has the appearance, knowledge, and training of a human about 20 years old)

Race: Half-elf

Tribe: Erpheronian and Aellenrhim

Occupation: “Stormcloak” Guild Merchant

Title: Tool and Trinket Trader

Overview: Amabella was born in Voldar and raised as a member of the comfortable Erpheronian upper middle class. Yet as Amabella absorbed the culture and values of both her elven and human families, she felt a longing to do something to help the races become more unified.

Amabella was groomed at an early age to follow in the footsteps of her father, and invariably she was expected to join the traditional Catston family business as a commercial Sawis wool trader. Yet Amabella grew jaded at the thought of living the way her father did, trading along the same exact route for the rest of her life. Enticed by the chance to trade a greater variety of goods, Amabella was motivated to join the Quios Shipping Guild, otherwise known as the "Stormcloaks". Amabella also felt the guild provided a forum of social equality, where different races were willing to set aside their differences for the common purpose of increasing their economic prosperity.

Amabella took a job trading goods from the warehouse at the Stormcloak port in Carmalad, and she aspired to pursue a future in the Stormcloak political branch. This career path offered a substantial enough salary to maintain the ostentatious lifestyle she desired. Yet when Amabella found that the Stormcloaks were shrouded in more dark secrets than she had ever imagined, she became conflicted between the moral and material worlds. Amabella is now unsure whether her life’s work will ultimately resolve her desire to contribute to society as a whole, or whether she will feel spiritually consumed by making choices motivated by greed.

Height: 1 Ped, 2 Fores, 1 Palmspan, 5 Nailsbreadths

Weight: 1 Pygge, 4 Hebs, 1 Hafeb, 3 Od

Hair Color: Eophran Brown

Eye Color: Adlemirene Brown

Physical Appearance: Upon close inspection, Amabella’s appearance silently tells the tale of her family’s past. Some features echo the bloodline of her elvish mother Enayái Galavásh, who was born in Bolder forest. Others recall the heritage of her human father Normic Catston, who was born in Voldar.

Whenever Amabella is in a breezy and lighthearted mood, either making a wry remark or feeling mischievous, she reflects the expression often found on the visage of a Galavásh. Both Amabella and her mother have rosy lips with a deep cupid’s bow, and they both also share the habit of pouting them a bit when they were feeling bored. Amabella’s overall soft appearance and tall frame seem to confess that the Galavásh family is not related to the ancient Aellenrhim of lore. Instead, the ancestors of this family were ethnically Quaelhoirhim. They immigrated to Bolder forest generations ago and integrated into the modern Aellenrhim tribe. Amabella has the lustrous golden skin, heavy eyelids, and long nor'sidian lashes typical of a Galavásh. The curvature of Amabella’s pointy ears is nearly identical to the ear shape of her mother’s father. Amabella’s grandfather has a notorious reputation for poking fun at foolishness. So when Amabella gives an overly critical response to a statement she thought was silly, her father would sometimes shake his finger and say, “You were listening with your grandfather’s ears!”

Yet whenever Amabella is somberly counting her money, or contemplating other serious matters of wealth and finance, she unmistakably has the bearing of a Catston. Like her father, Amabella gazes with eyes about the same color as a copper san after it has darkened with a patina. Amabella’s thick, wavy, brown hair is clearly from her father’s side. The Catstons pay particular homage to Jeyriall, and some Catstons insist it was Jeyriall’s desire for their hair to reflect her own brunette locks. Amabella lets her hair cascade down her back unfettered, falling about a palmspan past her shoulders. More than once, members of the Catston family have derisively been called “snooty looking” on account of the small, sharp, upturned nose which Amabella has also inherited.  Yet the chiding of this old merchant family may be spurred by the fact that their gestures and demeanor often match their noses, and Amabella is no exception.

Amabella’s build is arguably as much a product of her lifestyle as her heritage.  Amabella’s occasional consumption of rich foods prevent her from being excessively thin.  She does exercise in order to trim her figure, but she does not train to substantially build her strength or increase her speed. So Amabella is fairly slender, but not particularly muscular.

Amabella does not know any other family members who are racial crossbreeds. The Catstons find her ear shape “exotic”, and the Galaváshes find her eye color “exotic.”

Clothing: Amabella’s dresses are typically blue, pink, or purple, never in subdued colors like grey or brown. Due to her taste and lifestyle, Amabella dresses nothing like her elvish kin, but like the genteel Catston ladies of Voldar. Regardless of dress, Amabella always wears a necklace with a square charm bearing the Stormcloak coat of arms. The soles of her leather shoes are quite soft, and Amabella typically walks with an eerie silence. The nape of her neck and her wrist are perfumed with a drop or two of rosemint oil.

Amabella wears her favorite outfit on special occasions. This uderzan blue wool dress possesses a trasilk lining, a square collar, and a floor length skirt. The dress is closer fitting at the torso, coming down to a “V” in the front, and the wide skirt is bell-shaped. The dress is fully covered with transparent panels of treated ether-flake, giving it a ethereal iridescent quality.  The sleeves, collar, and bottom of the skirt are trimmed with a shimmery ribbon of gold silk, which doubly serve to help protect the delicate edges of the ether-flake layer. Her sleeves come down to her elbows before flaring out in ruffles, each resembling a blue Arryi flower at its beautiful but final hour.

For traveling, Amabella wears wool clothes that wear more hardily. These outfits also have a close fitting torso and a wide skirt, but simpler sleeves and without the ether-flake covering. Amabella owns dresses of different sleeve lengths so that her attire may match the weather. Some have triangle patterns embroidered along the cuffs of the sleeves. The dresses also have loops to accommodate a black leather belt. Upon her belt is her carrying pouch, which is a brown wool sack with a small inner pocket. The pouch is lined on the bottom and sides with strips of leather, which both strengthens it and helps keep its smooth shape. Amabella bought the pouch from a Fymbel workshop in Carmalad, and it is prominently embroidered with a picture of a fuzzle mouse.

When Amabella is outdoors and the air is chilly enough, she wears a black hooded wool cloak over her dress. She used to pull her hood completely over her head during inclement weather. Amabella stopped doing this ever since her hood, in combination with her silent gait, once frightened a drunken beggar in Voldar who thought a wailwoman was coming after him.

Personality: Amabella is pensive, erudite, and ambitious. Amabella loves to listen, loves to learn, and will speak to just about anyone indiscriminately. However, Amabella is more logical than emotional, and she has a tendency to be skeptical or even sarcastic. While her motivation for speaking to people may vary, she is probably interested in learning their outlook on life, looking for her next opportunity to make money, searching for specific information, or a combination of the three.

While it is predictable that Amabella will reflect on the reasons for making a decision, it is not entirely consistent what her final decision will be. However, her inner conflicts typically still fall into a few basic categories. It is usually when her greediness conflicts with her morals, or when her tendency to become easily bored conflicts with her caution against danger.

Like other Catstons, Amabella believes in the Twelve deities with special attention to Jeyriall. Amabella is unsure about the existence of Avá. Her mother's elvish family believes in Avá, but they are hardly religious at all. Her father's human family is very religious, and they strictly do not believe in Avá.

Amabella loves the fact that there is magic in the world. This is merely because she sells reagents which may fetch a handsome price, though she ironically makes no claim to have any magic power herself. However, due to the religiously orthodox views of the Catston family, as well as her own skepticism, she does not believe that any mage possesses divine power.

Strengths

Moral Commitment: Amabella possesses a strong personal code of ethics and a mantra to contribute to society. She believes that all of the races in Caelereth are equal, and all deserve to be treated with respect. Amabella will not go out of her way to hurt anyone intentionally, and her moral resolve has won her some of her allies.

Financial Influence: While money cannot buy happiness, it certainly helps. Quite often, Amabella enjoys a life of privilege. With connections to both Stormcloaks and various other traders she has met, assistance is also often never very far away if she needs it.  

Education: Amabella can speak, read, and write in both Thrarian and Styrásh. Thrarian is Amabella’s native tongue and the language she knows best. Amabella’s grasp and usage of Styrásh is adequate for simple day-to-day elvish communication and the conducting of financial transactions. She can also speak some Kh'om'chr'om, though Ambella understands more words than she is able to pronounce herself. She can also read Kh'om'chr'om if it is spelled out phonetically using the Thrarian alphabet.

Takes Precautions: Amabella is careful to weigh different sides before making a decision. She likes to explore her surroundings and observe people before taking action. Her cautious, skeptical nature deters her from making impulsive or rash choices.
  
Commercial Wain: Amabella owns a Kolbruck wain and possesses the skills to drive her team of horses. She can easily transport many belongings quickly. Though she would rather spare her merchandise, some of the utensils on her wain may be used as an odd and extremely crude form of self-defense.


Weaknesses

Greedy: Amabella’s pecuniary preoccupation can cloud her judgment. She insists on maintaining an ostentatious life of wealth and comfort, even if it comes at the cost of compromising her principles. Amabella is willing to take unnecessary risks in the pursuit of her own financial gain.

Easily Bored: Thinking about a decision does not guarantee that she will choose the right one. Amabella is overly restless, and she may take on a task for which she is unprepared. She is also tempted to deviate from an objective or purpose if it gets tedious for her.

Harshly Critical: Amabella has not only inherited her grandfather's ear shape, but some of his temperament as well. She may challenge or make levity of something which she thinks is foolish or illogical. This can offend or hurt people who could potentially help her.

Glutton: Amabella has a weakness for rich foods. She may become highly distracted, often lingering much too long at diners or taking extensive lunch breaks.

Prime Target for Thieves: Sadly, the Catston family has a history of being robbed. Amabella’s overt display of wealth makes her especially susceptible to bandit attacks. Her occupation also requires her to transport money and goods which are desirable to steal.


History

Part 1: The Family Business

For countless generations, the Catstons were commercial Sawis wool merchants. They traveled on a trade route between Bolder, Milkengrad, and Voldar. A Catston owned a Heavy-Wain for this purpose, pulled by 6 Southern Draught Horses bought from the Charka horse market in Nyermersys. For traveling everywhere else, a Catston owned a Kolbruk wain pulled by 2 to 4 of their draught horses. While many other human merchants withdrew their business from Bolder forest, due to a rumor that the woods were "cursed", the Catstons refused to break their traditions without having solid evidence to dissuade them.
 
The Catston family wool trade route went as follows:

  • The first stop was Bolder Forest. Undyed Sawis wool cloth was bought there from Aellenrhim weavers.
  • Next, the undyed cloth was brought to Milkengrad. The Catston family traded there with the Caltharian Thanwald family. The Thanwalds had specialized knowledge in Sawis wool cloth, and traded it exclusively. The more physically fit members of the Thanwald family were designated to deliver undyed wool cloth to Carmalad, then return with dyed wool cloth to Milkengrad. The more eloquent members of the Thanwald family served as "front men", staying in Milkengrad to negotiate the sales. A "front man" would promise buy a minimum amount of the Catson’s raw cloth wholesale. The Catston would in turn promise to buy a minimum amount of dyed wool wholesale.
  • Then the dyed wool was sold to various tailors and seamstresses located throughout Voldar and Nyermersis.
  • Then the merchant returned to Bolder to start the route again.

Sandar Catston, Amabella's grandfather, was the most prominent human Bolder forest wool merchant of his generation. One year, there was an unusual number of black Sawis sheep born in Bolder Forest. Undyed black fleece was in such high demand that Sandar became richer than he ever thought possible. Sandar eagerly filled his wain with undyed cloth and yarn from the black fleece, completely ignored the Thanwalds in Milkengrad, and sold it for a small fortune in Voldar. Yet Sandar’s copper brown eyes still shone with greed. Fearing increasing competition from elvish merchants, Sandar wanted to gain a monopoly on all of the black fleece in Bolder forest.

Naturally, Sandar completely failed to do this. In fact, he could not find one sheep farmer who would give him a monopoly on their wool. Then Sandar was approached by one of the Aellenrhim weavers, who owned a sheep farm with a pair of twin black lambs. The weaver laughed at him and said, "Oh come now, did you really think you could get a monopoly on a market in an elvish forest? I’m not sure what you were thinking. Nevertheless, I am willing to make you an offer. Do you remember my youngest daughter, Enayái?"

"Yes, she's friends with my son Normic."

"Enayái is a bit flighty, mischievous, and often bored. Many times Enayái told me that she longed to leave the confines of the forest someday and explore the great wide world. I don't want her to leave the safety of the forest, but I'm worried that if I completely forbid her from leaving Bolder, I would only entice her to run away! I will reluctantly support her decision to leave the forest, but only on the condition that someone at least fairly responsible takes care of her."

Ultimately, Sandar offered Normic in marriage to Enayái Galavásh. Normic had a reputation for being dependable, ethical, and predictable. Marrying a human seemed a bit odd to Enayái, but she preferred to leave Bolder without protest from her father. In return, Normic was guaranteed a decent percentage of the cloth woven on the Galavásh family farm, including any cloth or thread made from the black sheep born there. The marriage was a good business deal.

Normic and Enayái moved into a house in Voldar. Normic then continued in his father's footsteps, taking on the family trade route. Normic and Enayái had a baby girl. Normic named her Amabella.

One particularly cold night, Normic wrapped baby Amabella in a warm blanket. It was a dyed green wool blanket with undyed black wool edges. Normic looked at her brown eyes and became momentarily saddened about being a Catston. He wished that he could tell Amabella that she could grow up to become anything she wanted. But he knew that some occupations were predominantly reserved for the nobility, and despite their money, the Catstons didn’t have a drop of royal blood.

Normic cradled Amabella in his arms and whispered, “Perhaps it will be good enough for you to continue the traditional trade route in our family’s long tradition."

However, he would turn out to be wrong.

Part 2: The Calm Before the Storm

Amabella spent her early childhood growing up in Voldar, where she learned to speak and read Thrarian. Amabella had learned to speak and read Styrásh from her mother. Normic took Amabella to Bolder on his Heavy-Wain to visit her Aellenrhim relatives, and then took her back home to Voldar before proceeding on his trade route to Milkengrad.

Amabella came to share her father’s great love of books. She would read everything she could find. So on Amabella’s tenth birthday, her father gave her a small leather bound journal of her very own. She decided to write entries for her new journal in Thrarian. It was the language she thought in, and the language she felt she expressed herself best in. Amabella wondered if that fact alone made her thoughts more human than elvish.

Yet she decided to practice writing Styrásh in the journal too. Amabella did not want to ever lose touch with her elvish heritage entirely. It was a part of her, innate and indivisible from her human nature. Amabella’s pensive and cautious side clearly came from the elvish Galavásh family. By contrast, the Catsons had a tendency to act impulsively for the sake of money or instinctively based on tradition. Amabella always admired that her mother first took deep consideration of her family’s feelings before leaving the forest.

A month later, Normic offered to take her on his full trading route for the first time. Amabella was very excited to see new cities. They stopped at Bolder forest as usual, then set off directly towards Milkengrad. Normic stopped at the marketplace and told Amabella that she could pick out a souvenir or two. Much to Normic's chagrin, little Amabella was already growing to be quite the consumer, asking for all sorts of candies and playthings that she wanted to him to buy her at the stalls in Milkengrad.

They left the market and pulled into the warehouse of the Thanwald family. Amabella watched with fascination. Scurrying in the back, unloading dyed cloth for Normic's inspection, were the Thanwalds who worked as delivery men from Carmalad. The delivery men had shaggy blond hair, and wore little more than colored rags.

The elegant Thanwald at the desk smiled sunnily beneath his finely combed golden locks. He shook Normic's hand warmly.

“Hello Normic, good to see you again.”

“Hello Erdosson. This is my daughter, Amabella!”

Amabella said hello and the two men continued their business. Normic was one of the few merchants who came to Erdosson from the distant and “cursed” Bolder forest. Most of Erdosson’s wool merchants were located in Milkengrad, which is why he set up shop there. The Milkengrad weavers sold him undyed cloth woven from the fleece of the Sawis sheep living in the Aurora fields. Erdosson then shipped the finished dyed wool from the Milkengrad port.

Normic said to Amabella, “While we are here in Milkengrad, we are going to visit one Erdosson’s other customers. He is a Helcrani weaver named Payrah. Payrah is a voracious reader, but he is too poor to afford very many books. He finds all sorts of interesting pamphlets, scraps of tomes, or just about any printed material that the owner was willing to part with. We collect or borrow reading materials from our travels and and swap them with each other.”

They met Payrah at his sheep farm. Payrah was a rugged young man wearing a humble brown wool tunic, grey pants, and brown boots. Amabella thought that there was an innate kindness about Payrah. No matter how little he had, he was always a warm host.

“Come and make yourselves comfortable.” said Payrah. “I can also bring you a bite to eat if you are hungry.”

After they ate lunch, Payrah said, “I finally saved up enough money to make a trip to Carmalad. I saw the dyers at work with my own eyes. It’s a trip every wool merchant should do, if possible. I brought back something from Carmalad for you to read. Take a look at this!”

Payrah took a large piece of parchment down from his shelf and unrolled it.

Normic read it. “Quios Shipping guild? 'Stormcloaks'?”

“It is a recruiting poster. It was put up because they were signing up new members. It lists a lot of exotic wares that come to Carmalad. The guild was replacing this poster with a new one."

Amabella said, “I really like this poster.” She looked at the drawing of the ship on the poster. She imagined boarding it and being carried through the waves of the sea.

Payrah said, “Sorry I missed your tenth birthday, Amabella. Would you like this poster as your present?”

“Oh, yes definitely!”

Part 3: 10 Years Later

Every year, the Catstons have a tradition of holding a family reunion in Voldar in the month of Jeystar. During that evening, a great feast would be hosted in the home of the family patriarch or matriarch. A Catston newly entering the merchant business was traditionally given a small emerald gift at this dinner. The year that Amabella turned 20 years old, the family patriarch was still her grandfather, Sandar Catston. It was the year Amabella’s would be welcomed into the wool business.

Amabella wore her favorite uderza blue dress for this occasion. Her dress was more befitting within the budget of a minor noble than a merchant, and Amabella borrowed quite a bit of money from her father to buy it.

Amabella entered Sandar’s opulent dining room with her parents, uncles, and cousins. Sandar held his haloen feathered hat in his hand and bowed deeply to his guests with a flourish. Though Amabella was a palmspan taller than Sandar, he always seemed larger than life.

Amabella sat down at the table where the sumptuous feast was being served. Erpheronian boar steak with sweetsauce was present, along with semm and guiro fruit jam. Amabella was so engrossed in savoring the delicious berry jam, her father had to nudge her three times before she realized that Sandar was calling for everyone’s attention.

Sandar stood up and raised his glass with a grand gesture. “A toast to Jeyriall, whose emerald eye color is the basis for our name “Catston”. Bless her for our family, for the sheep who provide the lifeblood of our business, and for our feast tonight. Let us raise our glasses in tribute to her generosity towards our affluent family.”

 Amabella curled her slender fingers around the stem of her deep goblet and raised it with the others.

“To Jeyriall.”

Sandar continued, “And now, let us welcome our newest businesswoman this year, Amabella!”

Amabella blushed a little and nodded modestly as the others applauded. Sandar gave Amabella a leather money pouch studded with an emerald in the center. Amabella beamed as she received the pouch.

Then Sandar said, “May our family route provide you a steady income, just as it has done for Catstons day after day, year after year, generation after generation…”

Amabella’s lips pouted slightly. It sounded as if she was being dictated a life sentence. It sounded as if she was doomed to follow the same trade route over and over for all of eternity.

Then the traditional family dessert, Fáberge hearts, were served. Their sweetness momentarily diverted Amabella from her fatalistic lament.

Part 4: The Secrets

Normic brought Amabella up to the Nyermersys Charka District, where she bought horses and a wain of her own. Amabella bought horses #457 and #461, both of the fine quality that Nyermersys was known for. Amabella knew that the horses were for business, not pets. Still, she stroked their necks and wanted to think of them as companions along her journey of life, not just tools of the merchant world.

They prayed at the nearby temple of Astharói before returning home to Voldar. Normic gave her a word of warning before she set out on the wool route. He said, “Amabella, promise me that you will never become like my father. Promise me that your ambition will not blind your sensibility.”

Amabella looked at her father curiously.

Amabella’s father said, “As you know, we Catstons are merchants, not nobles. I had once dreamed of becoming a scholar someday, but these jobs typically go to the nobility. The year there was a population explosion of black sheep, my father started talking about paying to make my dreams come true. Yet I knew what he meant. He would just grease the right palms until he got what I wanted. Even if an outright bribe was refused, I could never accept employment as scholar if the job was attained through dubious means. So I stayed with the family business. Can you reassure me that you will make the same decision I did?”

Amabella was silent. She began to stroke her chin.

“Wouldn’t you?”

“Well…I must admit I would consider taking my grandfather’s offer anyway.”  Amabella said greedily. “I would love to become a scholar. But then again, one of us could get into serious trouble for bribery, or even attempted bribery. I could only accept a position as scholar if it was based on my merits alone.“

Amabella’s father breathed a sigh of relief. However, his mind was not at ease for long.

Amabella went quietly back to her room. She looked at her old Stormcloak recruiting poster, as she had done countless times before.  She wistfully read off all the ‘exotic’ goods that came into their ports. She read about her favorite berries, Guiro fruit, which were first brought in by Stormcloak ships. She read about the imported trasilk that lined her favorite dress. Then she re-read the possible starting salaries, and her coppery eyes began to shine.

The next day, Amabella approached her father. He was bent over his desk, balancing his accounts.

“Father, I want to join the Stormcloaks. I am not going to pursue our family trade route at all.”

“Why?”

“I have been considering it for ten years now. I have the potential to make more money as a Stormcloak than if I stayed on the old route. However, that is not the only reason. I spent much of my life being shuttled back and forth between Bolder forest and Voldar. I always wished my human family and my elvish family was not always so separate. The only reason the two families even met in the first place was to trade. True, people trade with their own self-interest in mind. But we merchants bring the world together in a sense, peacefully uniting people who might otherwise never have known or benefitted from each other. I want to participate in trading with even more types of more people. In my own small way, I want to increase the prosperity of society. By promoting the cause of racial and social unity, I feel more at peace with both my elvish and human sides. The Stormcloaks command a fleet whose flags are unfettered by any monarchy or race. That is why I want to join them.”
 
“You can still trade on our wool route. You are still doing your small part in bettering society, as you say. But with the Stormcloaks, you don’t know what you are getting into.”

“What do you mean, ‘I don’t know what I’m getting into?’ What you know that I don’t, in order to make such a loaded statement like that?”

Normic was offended at the phrasing of Amabella’s remark, and he hardly spoke to her for the rest of the day.  

Amabella came around the following morning and apologized. Amabella asked more nicely, “I do not want to make an important decision in ignorance.  Is there anything you know about the Stormcloaks that you may share with me?”

Normic told her, “Yes. On the fateful day Payrah went to Carmalad, Payrah also decided to become a Stormcloak himself. Payrah told me that the Stormcloaks offered him a position with a substantial salary, but under the condition that he must break his ties to Erdosson. Payrah refused to disclose the mysterious reason for this condition. Payrah accepted the Stormcloaks’ offer, and moved to Carmalad permanently. Payrah offered to recommend me for a lucrative position with the Stormcloaks too, but naturally I refused. I could never leave the financial security of my trade route, nor break my loyalty with the Thanwalds for pure greed. Can you reassure me that you will make the same decision as I did?”

Amabella only said, “I will consider what you have told me.”

At first, Amabella just agreed to go on the family trade route. But a year later, Amabella approached her father again. She said, “Catstons have been going on the same route forever. I would become horribly bored if my fate was to travel this unchanging path for the rest of my life! I honestly don’t care about Erdosson, especially if he is going to stand in my way. I am going to become a Stormcloak.”

“No, I won’t let you!”

And then, words Normic’s father-in-law once told him slowly crept into his mind. “I couldn’t completely forbid my daughter from leaving…I would only entice her to run away…”

Normic looked at his daughter's expression. Amabella had her mother’s spirit within her, and Normic felt he had no choice but to make a bargain with her.

Normic compromised, “I will finally go on my long-deferred trip to see the dyers in Carmalad, and I will take you along. Let us speak to Payrah there. Let us see if we can find a nice, safe position with the Stormcloaks...or a least, as safe as could be with the guild. After a year or so, if you are still convinced that you want to be a Stormcloak, you may move to Carmalad permanently with less protest from me.”

“Fair enough.”

Amabella and Normic set off to Carmalad together. Amabella drove her new Kolbruck wain there. The road was long, and she spent time getting to know her two draught horses better. She nicknamed the shorter, heavier mare “Carroot” since that seemed to be her favorite food. Amabella nicknamed the taller, thinner mare “Whinny” because she was more noisy.  

They stopped at Jernais along the way. Amabella loved the food in Jernais. In fact, she loved it too much. Amabella simply had to stop at every restaurant, and for both lunch and dinner at that. She needed to walk off the extra weight of course, and went sightseeing. By the time Amabella was finally ready to leave Jernais, what was supposed to be a one night’s stay turned out to be a week, and Amabella had spent way more money on expensive meals than she had ever planned.

At last they reached the Carmalad shore.  As a watery mist blew through Amabella’s Jeyriall-like locks, she watched a huge swanlike ship float towards the Stormcloak port. She gazed at it with wonder, as she reminisced about her old recruiting poster, and she was so glad to see a Stormcloak ship in real life at last. Amabella had seen trade ships before at the Milkengrad port. Yet because the Stormcloak ship made her feel that she was coming face to face with her destiny, it held an aura of mystique for her.

Normic took Amabella up to Payrah’s address. Normic nervously knocked on his door, and Payrah opened it.

Part 5: Amabella’s Employment

Payrah looked very different than he did eleven years earlier. No longer dressed with vestments of grey and brown, he now donned a bright silk karikrimson tunic and an equally flamboyant plumed hat to match. The Stormcloaks had earned him quite a bit of money, and he now owned a small personal library. The guild had also earned Payrah a few premature grey hairs too. Yet deep down inside, much of Payrah’s personality stayed the same. That is, Payrah was still “good enough” that Normic felt better with his advice than having Amabella wander off to join the Stormcloaks alone.

Naturally, Amabella refused all of the “safer” but lower paying Stormcloak job offers that Payrah told her about. This made Normic very nervous. The only job offers that paid enough money to meet Ambella’s demands were with members of the political branch. The Stormcloaks ran a secretive business, and the pursuit of a career in the political branch was not easy.

Amabella liked the job offer that was given by a Stormcloak politician named Kovor. He was looking to hire someone to help him do research on trade laws. In essence, the Stormcloak guild could give Amabella the opportunity to choose the life of study that her father had once dreamed of.

“He has been with the Stormcloaks for a long time.” Said Payrah. “He is the one sometimes nicknamed ‘Disposable Researcher Kovor’.”

“‘Disposable researcher’? What kind of ridiculous name is that?” laughed Amabella.

Normic cleared his throat and pointed to Amabella’s ears.

“Sorry. So Kovor is a scholar of some kind?”

“Definitely. Kovor said he graduated from a school called Lorehold, and he wrote several treatises on legal issues.”

Now Normic became a bit jealous.

Then Payrah said, “If you want to pursue a Stormcloak political career, you would need to have an interview at his office first. I can certainly recommend you for him. Kovor is a polite and friendly fellow, and he likes being asked questions. I think his personality would be perfect for you.”

Payrah went to Kovor’s office at the Stormcloak port, and gave his recommendation. Kovor agreed to interview Amabella, and he cleared his afternoon calendar for her. While Normic went off to see Carmalad dyers, Payrah took Amabella to the entrance of the Stormcloak port. Payrah explained to the surly Quios guard at the entrance that Amabella had an appointment with Kovor. They were admitted inside, and Amabella took a look around.

A little further off were the offices of the members of the political branch. A human, an elf, and an orc were sitting around a small nearby wooden table. The congenial group was having lunch together and chatting casually.

Amabella said to Payrah, “Now isn’t that a display of racial equality? I have never seen such a scene anywhere else. It gives me a sense of hope for our society, that trade truly brings people together harmoniously, and - “

Amabella stopped short suddenly.

“Yes? What is wrong?” asked Payrah.

Amabella's eyes had become fixated on the orc's lunch. "Mmm…that meat sure looks tasty. I want some. I'm hungry!”

Payrah sighed. When Amabella said she was hungry, everything seemed to grind to a halt. "OK, I will ask him what he's eating, but you normally don't just walk up to an orc and ask him for his food!"

As Payrah and Amabella approached the table, the heavy orc's red eyes rolled towards them.

Payrah said to the orc, "Hi Kovor, this is Amabella! So what's for lunch?"

Part 6: The Offer

Kovor carefully wiped his huge fangs with his table napkin and said, “Amabella! A pleasure to meet you. I am having my usual order of kyrattin. The merchant at the shop to our left sells it. Feel free to try it, and see if it suits your palette.“

Then Kovor turned to the elf and the human. “May I be excused from the table, gentlemen? I am reminded that I have some paperwork to prepare before Amabella’s official interview.”

Kovor clutched his walking stick and trotted towards his office. Amabella ordered the kyrattin, and it instantly became her favorite meat for lunch too. When she was finished eating, Amabella found Kovor in his office. The orc was now wearing his spectacles and holding some legal documentation in his claws.

He looked up and said warmly, “Amabella dear, you may have a seat. So Payrah tells me you literate in both Styrash and Thrarian?”

“Aih and Yes” said Amabella.

“Good, good. That is definitely a plus. You also have wain driving skills, and you would be interested in doing research?”

“I love to read. I can also drive a wain. Don’t worry, I don’t do both at the same time.”

Kovor smiled. “Aha - I can see why Payrah recommended you for me and not his own boss. He is an extremely serious type.”

“That reminds me - how did you get a funny name like ‘Disposable Researcher’?”

“I am a Volkek-Oshra with no magic power. So I was exiled from Ximax and left out in the woods to perish.”

“Oh! I feel bad for poking fun at your title now!”

“It is quite all right. It helped me feel better to intentionally make levity of my plight, since it was out of my control anyhow. To make a long story short, the guild didn’t care that I was an orc, just as long as I could make money for them. The Stormcloaks paid me enough to afford my tuition to Lorehold, and now I am stationed here in Carmalad. In return, I now help advise them which trade policies would give the Stormcloaks the highest profit. I keep an eye on the legislature of the Carmalad ruling council, as well as study the legal practices of any other ‘interesting parties’ which could help or hurt the guild’s cash flow.”

Amabella didn’t mind working for Kovor, as race made no difference to her either. Her impartial nature allowed her an easier entry into financial politics.

The orc settled back in his office chair and said, “Payrah tells me you are looking for the more lucrative jobs, and so you want to pursue a political career in the guild. In general, Stormcloaks are distrustful of outsiders. So it is often recommended that an aspiring politician start out by working in one of the other branches first. Given your merchant background, it would be fitting that you start in our trade branch. You would be loading merchandise from our Carmalad goods warehouse and selling it in specially designated marketplaces. However, you must work longer hours than a regular merchant, because you will also be studying the materials I give you. Occasionally, I will also send you out on special assignments to do field research. I am looking for someone to help report back activities of craftspeople and merchants who are not members of the Stormcloak guild. Do you have any questions?”

“What kinds of studying would I be doing?”

He handed Amabella a book on his desk. It was titled, “The Impact of Santhran Lysarian Hammersfeld on Currency.”

“Study finance and law on the side for a few years, then decide whether you want to apply for more formal schooling. My alma mater is a good choice, its on the opposite Manthrian coast of our port in Ciosa. Also, do you know any Kh'om'chr'om?”

Amabella shook her head.

“I will teach you then. That way, I can relay messages to you somewhat more secretly than if I gave them in Thrarian. I also want you to be able to eavesdrop on orcish conversations.”

Kovor asked Amabella more questions about her knowledge of trade, and she seemed to be a promising recruit.

“Do you know a man named Erdosson Thanwald?” asked Kovor, though he already knew the answer.

Amabella asked, “Yes. Do I need to break my ties with Erdosson, like Payrah did?”

Kovor said, “Sadly, yes. According to the Strata trade contract of 827, Stormcloak ships are not allowed to trade with ports on the northwestern coast, and that includes Milkengrad. Bypassing the contract by simply sending our port merchants overland is a bit risky. I must be able to send my hires over to the west coast for information. I don’t want restrictions to be imposed that would hinder a Stormcloak’s ability to merely travel there. Therefore, you should not do business with any of the merchants located in Milkengrad. I would still like to hire you. Do you accept?”

“Yes.”

Kovor taught her a simple way to politely shake the hand of a clawed creature, cupping one hand over the other. Amabella shook Kovor’s hand. Amabella would later use this technique to shake the hand of the elvish friend Kovor had lunch with. He was an outcast but brilliant “EarthBurned” Maeverhim with particularly long nails.

Kovor opened his desk drawer and pulled out a necklace. “Our traders often wear the lightning bolt insignia from the Stormcloak coat of arms. You may have it stitched to the front of your clothing, or you may wear this necklace.”

Amabella took the lightning bolt necklace and fastened it around her neck. Kovor also gave Amabella several maps. Some markings indicated ports and marketplaces which were dominated by the Stormcloaks, others pointed out where they were banned to trade.

Kovor asked, “Would you be willing to spy on Erdosson?”

“Really? Payrah is a spy?”

“Actually, Payrah was not willing to spy on Erdosson. That’s why we told him to break all ties to the Thanwalds, both personal and professional. Payrah must stay silent and out of our investigation if he is uncomfortable helping us. However, if you have no loyalty to Erdosson, you may stay on friendly terms with Erdosson and gather information for the purposes of disclosing corrupt activity.”

“What corrupt activity? Did Erdosson break the law?”

“Before I disclose any more information, I need to know if you would be willing to help us. It is not an easy decision, but guild politics is never easy.”

“I…I don’t know.”

“Take as much time as you need. In the meantime, are you willing to avoid contact with him?”

“Yes, I can do that much.”

“Excellent. Your primary task, over the next several months, is to pick up goods from the warehouse and sell them at a specific designated Stormcloak marketplace.”

Later on that day, Kovor heard a knock on his office door. It was Payrah’s boss, who was the human that had lunch with Kovor and the Maeverhim. He leaned over to Kovor and whispered, “You were right. Erdosson is still an active member of the Cloth Dyer’s Guild. Are you still investigating his bribery of the Carmalad legislative council?”

Kovor whispered back, “I wouldn’t press charges against him just yet. That is still our trump card if the Stormcloaks wish to blackmail him for interfering with our operations. I’ll continue to do legal research, just as I always have. In the meantime, I have just hired my newest pair of eyes. Her name is Amabella Catston. I’ll keep you posted.”

Part 7: The First Assignments

Amabella promised her father that she would wait at least two years before making any decision to move to Carmalad permanently. In the interim, she could easily afford to live in a Carmalad inn. Normic said a difficult goodbye to Amabella and went home to Voldar. Amabella and Kovor sailed to Quios, where Amabella was officially admitted as a guild member.

Amabella returned to Carmalad and went on her assignment to sell goods for the Stormcloaks. At first it was exciting, because she had a greater variety of goods to sell. But when she had been on the same route for a year, Amabella griped to Kovor, “I’m bored with this route already. Give me a different one.”

“I gave you the absolute safest route only.” insisted Kovor. “During these first two years, you will always stay on the same path and study finance in the meantime.”

Amabella pouted and grumbled as she walked out of the office. She looked down at the maps Kovor had given her. According to the map there were Stormcloaks stationed in a marketplace further south than her usual marketplace. She was tempted to visit, but paused hesitantly. Then she thought, “I suppose Kovor wouldn’t mind if I just took a peek at the marketplace…”

Amabella went down the south road, but was confronted by a thief. The thief pulled out a dagger and threatened Amabella for money. Amabella threw down her emerald purse and sped off. The thief snatched it, and Amabella never saw her purse again.

Amabella meekly told Kovor about the incident. Kovor was not too hard on her, because he wanted Amabella to feel comfortable telling him the truth. Kovor offered her consolation, but gently reprimanded, “I do eventually want to send you to different locations, but you should not go into certain areas without any self-defense skills at all. In the beginning, it is the element of surprise that you must first use to your advantage.”

Amabella thought it was amusing at first, but Kovor taught her how to throw a soup spoon so that it spins quickly. However, she saw how it could serve as a diversionary tactic to help her escape, and she practiced the technique. She soon progressed to butter knife throwing. Though no match for an expertly skilled warrior or thief, her cutlery made the most effective “weapons.” Thus they were always placed in the compartment closest to the driver’s seat. Amabella was also taught to seek protection by Quios guards whenever possible, and told never to board a ship alone.

Kovor said, “If you pursue a Stormcloak political career, you will most likely want finer training in a true weapon. For now, practice your reflexes, and do not carry weapons which a thief could easily spot and use against you.”

Six months later, when Kovor was pleased with Amabella’s modest self-defense skills, he offered her first special assignment.

Kovor said, “I would like you investigate a Fymble tapestry weaver workshop. Several members of Fymbels are keen observers, like mice who have sharpened senses to danger. A disturbance amongst the Fymbles may foreshadow a possible danger that could affect any merchant. Culprits are sometimes more careless around Fymbles due to their humble social rank, and that’s why I like to watch them closely. However, Fymbles often speak in a secret code that is difficult to understand. I want you to go to a Fymble workshop located right here in Carmalad. Your specialized knowledge in wool is a great asset. I want you to establish a good rapport with the weavers there, then report back to me any information you find.”

Kovor gave Amabella an overview of what he knew about Fymble history, and Amabella agreed to the assignment.  

Amabella met one of the weavers, Crone Kerlyn, and her assistant, Floozy Jenessa. Amabella posed simply as a merchant of black wool yarn, willing to sell it for their looms at closer to the wholesale price.  

Young Jenessa erroneously called Amabella a “Sinkel”, and Amabella never corrected her. Since the Sinkels were merely simple wandering merchants, Amabella observed that the term  “Stormcloak” often evoked a more guarded reaction than the term “Sinkel”. Amabella enjoyed being thought of as just a Sinkel, and Jenessa was comfortable talking to her. Crone Kerlyn spotted Amabella’s necklace and eyed her with more caution.

Floozy Jenessa said that she loved to sew. She always wanted to weave something large, but she came from a family of travelers who did not have access to a large permanent loom. Amabella told Jenessa that she had lost a bag to thieves, and was looking for a replacement. Janessa offered to give Amabella a bag that she made herself.

Jenessa gave Amabella a bag of good construction, suitable for carrying many items and containing a hidden inner pocket. Embroidered on the front was a fuzzle mouse. Amabella was so happy with the bag that she payed Jenessa well for it, more than enough to cover the cost of materials.

Jenessa had never ridden in a commercial wain before, so Amabella agreed to take he along for a ride on her route one day. Amabella stopped by her familiar marketplace with Stormcloak merchants. One of the Stormcloak merchants pointed to Jenessa’s arm, which had a Black Butterfly Rover tattoo.

“What’s a Rover doing in your wain?” he laughed mockingly, as if a dog had gotten into her wain.

Amabella’s hope that the Stormcloaks would represent a perfect ideal of equality was shattered. She realized that there was nothing strange about a Stormcloak discriminating against a person bearing such a tattoo. After all, many merchants suspect Black Butterfly Rovers to be thieves.

In the meantime, Amabella had to think fast.
 
“I’ve been given orders. I’m not paid to ask questions!” said Amabella emphatically.

While it was true that Amabella was given orders, none of them specifically involved Butterfly Rovers. Nevertheless, her answer was good enough for Amabella to continue along her way without any further heckling. Amabella felt she had been a good politician.

Amabella took Jenessa back to the Fymble workshop. Jenessa never let her family past go, and the Fymbles didn’t mind. They just simply gave her a fuzzle mouse tattoo in addition to her butterfly one. Amabella had not seen the Fymbles discriminate against race or class, and she had been looking for a group like that for her entire life. But Crone Kerlyn warned Amabella that a Floozy’s honorable life is still a hard one, and Amabella was neither willing to give up a pampered life nor a Stormcloak salary. Amabella drove her wain decidedly back towards the Stormcloak port.

Part 8: Amabella’s Decision (Conclusion)

It was two years since Kovor had first interviewed Amabella. She decided to make the permanent move to Carmalad.

By that time, Sandar was quite weak and bedridden. However, Amabella insisted on seeing him before she returned to Carmalad. Sandar always adored Amabella because she was so ambitious. Amabella sat in a chair by her grandfather’s bedside and told him all kinds of stories of her life so far as a Stormcloak.

Sandar smiled weakly and said, “No matter where you travel, you are still a Erpheronian, and I say that you still have the right to take on a customary title.”

Then he joked lightly, “Don’t be afraid to make it lengthy and dramatic. Your customary title may be, ‘The half-elf of Voldar, daughter of wool wholesaler Normic, serving your useful tool and odd trinket needs except on Brownindays during her break for Dreamer’s Breath tea!’”

Amabella laughed, then paused. Then she said, “Actually I like that. I want to be ‘Stormcloak Merchant Amabella, Tool and Trinket Trader.’”

Sandar said warmly, “You have my blessing. Normic, as the next family patriarch, please tell your brothers that Amabella shall be known amongst Catstons by that customary title henceforth.”

Amabella put her arms around Sandar and bid him farewell. A small tear formed in her eye, since she feared she would never see him alive again.

Sandar Catston passed away two days later. Amabella stayed for the funeral, and watched as her considerably more conservative father assumed the position of family patriarch. Normic grumbled as he settled all of Sandar’s outstanding debts. Normic needed to sell off some of his father’s old furniture. Sandar had made money, but he had still lived beyond his means.

Normic turned to Amabella and repeated his plea, “Never become like my father. Never take on more than you can handle.”

“I will be careful, but I can’t promise that will never happen.” said the young Stormcloak.

It was a fact that Normic never came to accept, but he felt he had no choice but to let Amabella go.

Amabella packed her belongings and set off to live in a house in Carmalad. She promised to return every few years to visit her Bolder forest and Voldar relatives. She still remained undecided about Erdosson, and left without saying a word to him.

After about 5 years in Carmalad, Kovor had her next major assignment ready. He wanted her to travel south, to the Stormcloak port of Strata, and become familiar with the area. He also wanted her to investigate the Canelvous leaf trade nearby, which was very lucrative. Kovor said that a good Stormcloak politician should be familiar with as many of their ports as possible, so Amabella had a lot of traveling ahead of her. Kovor himself had been to each Stormcloak port at some point in his life.

Amabella loaded her wain and eagerly boarded a Stormcloak ship to Strata. She felt that she had found her destiny.

Weapons

At this time, Amabella does not own weapons in the conventional sense. Basically she can throw kitchen utensils from her wain, but only as a diversionary tactic to flee.

Belongings

6 boxes of “Tools and Trinkets” are for sale on her Kolbruck wain:

Box #1:
Cooking supplies
Whetstones for sharpening blades
Water skins
Soap (scented and unscented varieties)
Assorted toiletries
Tinderboxes (with flint and tinder)

Box #2:
Medicated bandages - miyu bean or iceplant salve
Willow tablets
Rosemint oil (perfume) and Rosemint leaves
Dried wizardleaves
Silkel tree dried leaves and seed cream
Dreamer’s Breath oil (perfume) and Dreamer’s Breath petals (for tea)

Box #3:
Arrowhead goose quills, howler goose quills, and a few rare Haloen quills
Bottles of ink
Sheets of parchment
Spools of yarn
Sewing supplies (Ex. bone needles)
More expensive assorted baubles (from the Carmalad Stormcloak goods warehouse)
Less expensive assorted baubles (from Sinkels, usually bartered for rations in box #6 or whetstones in box #1)

Box #4:
Clean bedrolls

Box #5:
Assorted wool clothes and accessories
Leather carrying bags of various sizes

Box #6:
Dried rations
Cuncu sheep jerky strips (A chewy treat more suitable for dogs, wolves, and wargs)
Bags of Doch Nuts
Horse feed (Pheasant grass hay, Oats, or Breddgrain stalks)
Bird food (various seeds and berries)

Personal items on her wain:

Horse tack and care (Saddle, bridle, brush, etc)
Books she is not currently reading
Personal clothes she is not currently wearing
Maps of Caelereth with markings indicating places of Stormcloak influence or dominance

Personal items in her wool bag:

Haloen goose quill and small ink bottle
Leather and parchment journal
Personal toiletries
Whichever book she is currently reading
Map of the area she is currently located in
Any sans, copperbards, silverbards, or goldbards she is carrying (within an inner pocket of the bag)

Familiars:

Nyermersys Charka District Workhorse #457 (“Carroot”)

Gender: Female
Age: 11
Species: Sarvonian Heavy Horse (Southern Draught Horse variety)
Hair Color: White mane and tail
Eye Color: Black
Height: 4 1/2 Fores
Weight: 189 Hebs
Physical Appearance: White coat with brown hair on all four ankles.  
Personality: Likes to eat carroots. Calm but sluggish.

Nyermersys Charka District Workhorse #461 (“Whinny”)

Gender: Female
Age: 11
Species: Sarvonian Heavy Horse (Southern Draught Horse variety)
Hair Color: White mane and tail
Eye Color: Black
Height: 4 3/4 Fores
Weight: 178 Hebs
Physical Appearance: White coat with brown speckles on her back.
Personality: Likes to whinny. Loud but playful.

« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 03:44:16 AM by Kareesh Valendar » Logged

Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
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Human, Remusian


« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2013, 11:40:28 AM »

 Thumb up  I'm good with a First Approval.
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Favorite Cartoon Quotes
"It was a dark and stormy night."  - Snoopy
"Ack!" - Bill the Cat
"I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinski." - President Bill Clinton

My Character can be viewed @Angelina Jolie's house.  But knock first, in case I'm in my underwear.
Amabella Catston
Tool and Trinket Trader
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Half-Elf, Aellenrhim / Erpheronian


« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2013, 10:05:04 AM »

Thanks so much Altario! grin

I edited some extra space around one of the quotes, and took out a duplicated word, but otherwise the CD is the same as 2 weeks ago.
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Kareesh Valendar
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2013, 02:07:20 AM »

I've started reading your CD, Amabella and got down to the history. I may have a chance to read more tonight but I have a pretty busy schedule this weekend, so if nothing else, I'll finish it Monday. I will say, though, so far so good. :D
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Kareesh Valendar
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2013, 03:41:06 AM »

I finally got through your history! :D It's a very interesting and well-written read. I am totally fine with giving this my Second Approval. Since there aren't any colors, I'll go ahead and title and archive this for ya.

Congrats and welcome to Santharia! :D
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